Shiv Sena leader and Mumbai Mayor Sunil Prabhu today hit out at the Maharashtra government for its plan to construct a heliport at the Mahalakshmi racecourse in central Mumbai. "We had planned to create a garden of international standards at the racecourse ground for the citizens where they could spend their time and enjoy nature....the government is trying to snatch away the rights of citizens which I strongly oppose.

Sunil Prabhu

The government will pay a price for its decision," Prabhu said, talking to reporters here. The issue of utilisation of the vast piece of land, situated in a prime area, has cropped up as the lease for the racecourse has expired. Prabhu said he had written to the Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in this regard in May 2013.

"I had placed a demand before the CM in May 2013 that we plan to create a world class garden at the racecourse. But no decision was taken. Being the Mayor, I object to the heliport plan and I have (again) written to the CM in this regard," he added.

The city badly needed a garden for "clean environment", while a heliport would be used only by VVIPs, he said. "But if a heliport is allowed, only the cars of the rich will be seen there and Mumbaikars will not be able to go anywhere near the place due to security reasons. I have asked the CM to reconsider his decision," Prabhu said.